At some point in the coming month BT’s superfast broadband service will surpass the 5 million home mark.
I’ve been a bit quiet on the fibre updates recently. I just sat in on a BT conference call on the subject. BT is contemplating changing the frequency specification on its “superfast” broadband product which will bring speeds potentially up to 80Mbps instead of the current 40Mbps.
I questioned whether this would reduce the reach of the service but apparently it increases it. The issues are potentially higher levels of cross talk and interference on lines but the higher frequency position is the standard that has been adopted elsewhere in the EU – must be ok then.
For punters it shouldn’t make any difference as BT is likely to specify both services at the same level. In other words they will say 80Megs and the underlying delivery technology will be irrelevant. This won’t quite be true because those benefitting from FTTP should get the stated maximum throughput whilst the FTTC lines will average out at a lower speed over their copper lines.
The current FTTP trials have slipped by 6 months. This is down to the odd technical hitch but also whilst BT gets a better handle on the delivery costs. By the end of the trials they should be in a position to decide what is the most cost effective technology. I can’t imagine it will be FTTP but am prepared to be pleasantly surprised. As it stands BT is currently sticking to its position that it will use FTTP for exchange fed lines and FTTC for cabinet fed with 25% of lines in areas where BT has targeted for FTTP being FTTP.
In the near term it won’t really make much difference to end users which flavour they get. Their usage behaviour doesn’t seem to change much whether they have 40Megs FTTC or 100Megs FTTP. This does suggest that the world has not yet produced services that need the faster speed. However build it and they will come, as the saying goes.
BT expects to pass its 5 millionth home with superfast broadband by the end of June 2011.